Can Slense be the Blekko of Europe? Launches customizable search engine

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There has been lots of buzz around Blekko, one of Silicon Valley’s hottest startups. At the recent Social Currency CrunchUp CEO Rich Skrenta gave an impressive demo of their product and attendees got a first glimpse of Blekko’s powerful search engine.

Slense, an Austrian startup, which has been developed by bunch of Viennese PhD students recently launched and is in some way a Blekko competitor. The company’s goal is to establish a customizable and private search experience. By adding sources you know and trust – for now, just RSS feeds and your Delicious stream – Slense only displays results deemed relevant to you. Results improve not based on your historical search behaviour but on the primary sources you add, and from those external sites, the content is analyzed and via some sort of “peer reviewing”, weighted for future searches.

This is definitely an interesting approach, yet I highly doubt that people will be motivated to first add a bunch of sources before being able to perfom any type of search. Google is a success because for the majority of people out there it’s fast and results are in most cases relevant. While Blekko’s approach is more focused on real-time and the ability to customize your searches with certain attributes attached to a specific query.

Slense’s support for RSS feeds and Delicious only as a search source limits its current usage tremendously. In contrast, Blekko, which is only accessible as a private beta, is not only hyped due to its location in the Valley and its highly experienced founders, but also because their product seems more fully baked for mass appeal than any other new entrant in the search space.

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  • christian Zeidler

    Wow, I appreciate that comparison.

    Blekko follows a great approach to vertical search, and of course the challenge to build their own real-time index of the web is huge. An open index of the web – as was rumored a possible development around Yahoo BOSS some time ago (but seems dead after the Microsoft deal) – would make development of innovative search approaches so much less cost intensive on the infrastructure side.

    The Slense team takes the criticism seriously. Currently Slense needs some “feeding” with sources by the user. Our current development focus lies in making the connection of a Slense account to the social graph and connected content a one-click experience. We love the idea of the facebook like-button it’s such a powerful link between the social graph and all the content on the web. Of course there are other options to connect content to the graph. People love to bookmark/ store/ save and we’d like to support them in finding stuff again.

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